You Want Great Prices…

Michele Miller at Wonder Branding has some nice things to say about Costco Wholesale and the retail giant’s CEO, Jim Sinegal. I also love the way she says it.

Thanks to Jim Sinegal, the bigwigs down on Wall Street have their undies in a bunch.
Costco puts Wal-Mart to shame in the arena of low pricing. They steadfastly hold to the rule that nothing shall be marked up more than 15% (compared with competitor’s markup of 25% and more). They pay their employees an average of $17 per hour… 42% higher than Sam’s Club… and have one of the best health plans in the industry.
Costco’s stock has risen more than 10% in the last year. Employee turnover rate is nearly non-existent. Sales revenue for June of 2005 is up 9% from the same period last year.
What does Wall Street have to say about this? If you can get their thumbs out of their mouths long enough to tell you, they wail that Joe is too generous. He just isn’t shaving enough off the top for them to get their greedy little hands on. An analyst from Deutsche Bank whines, “it’s better to be an employee or a customer than a shareholder.”
Wah, wah, wah. Jim’s not playing the game by our rules. He’s too traditional, too old-fashioned. And on top of that (horror of horrors) he only took a $200,000 bonus last year. We don’t wanna play anymore!
My God. A business that puts its employees and customers before the Almighty Profit does exist. Isn’t it amazing that a simple thing like that would create cult-like customer loyalty and $40 billion in revenue… with almost no advertising?



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.